Stacey Richter Controls the Universe

We'll always have a soft spot in our otherwise cold, black editors' hearts for Barrelhouse contributor Stacey Richter. Not just because she gave us a story for Barrelhouse, but because she gave us a story for Issue Freaking One of Barrelhouse. Which means -- and apologies in advance for getting all mushy and lame about this -- Stacey took a chance on us when we needed it the most. (Is that an Air Supply lyric? If not, it probably should be.)

Let's review what Stacey had to lose by contributing to a magazine she'd never seen, put out by a bunch of people she'd never met:

1. We could have printed her entire story in Comic Sans font. Or Matisse. Or Wingbats.

2. We could have surrounded her story with soft-core pornography.

3. We could have surrounded her story with hard-core pornography.

4. We could have surrounded her story with stories and poems written by all our friends from college plus various bartenders around the Washington, D.C., area who promised us free drinks in exchange for "sharing their words."

5. We could have surrounded her story with old Marmaduke and Heathcliff cartoons.

6. We could have printed the whole thing at a local high school, after hours, resulting in a journal that not only easily smudged and came unstapled but one that carried the very particular stink of the mimeograph machine.

7. We could have surrounded Stacey's story with hard-core pornography set in the year 3086, on the planet Zoltrain, where the few remaining post-nuclear-winter humans engage in a variety of erotic adventures with the many-tentacled nubile ladies of Rygar 7.

What we're saying is this: sending us that story was kind of a risk. A risk like accepting a date from a guy you met online who has a pretty nice-sounding profile -- he's snarky in all the right ways, appreciates the right television shows, loves Patrick Swayze with just the right mixture of earnestness and irony, etc. -- but he refuses to post a picture and so for all you know could be a 300-pound gorilla trained for some kind of military experiment gone horribly awry and now he's got a taste for human flesh and a special typing wand.

What we're saying is this: Stacey, thank you for your questionable judgment!

And now we come to the real point of this post, which is that Stacey Richter has a new book out, called Twin Study. You should buy it. All of us Barrelhouse editors are going to buy it. And not just because Stacey Richter is a super-nice lady, but because she's a super-awesome writer, too. You will not be disappointed. We swear it.

Don't believe us? Here's an excerpt from the Entertainment Weekly review:

“The protagonists in Richter's stunning and occasionally supernatural short stories run the gamut of humanity, from rebellious teenagers, fractured poets, and anachronistic cavemen to ambitious house pets, suburban potheads, and, yes, identical twins. But what they all have in common is a nearly bottomless loneliness and a hunger to connect. It's a testament to the Pushcart Prize winner's talent that her pithy, audacious prose manages to resonate deeply, though in the end one often wishes that the characters she brings to life so vividly would stick around longer than the dozen or so pages most are allotted. A-”
For more information about Stacey and her awesomeness, visit her website. There you can read interviews and stories and ask her just about any question in the world.

If it were us, we'd ask how the many-tentacled nubile ladies of Rygar 7 deal with the particular challenges presented by weightless coitus, or maybe something about Scientology, but hey, go ahead and ask her some lame question about writing if you want.

No comments: